What are the five things that actually matter about the 2018 American Athletic Conference football schedule?
Daily Five: American Athletic Schedule & What Matters
5. There are just enough good non-conference games to be a factor
The American Athletic was able to generate a big splash in 2016 after handling the big boys early.
South Florida rolled Syracuse by 25 in the Carrier Dome, Cincinnati whacked Purdue, UConn beat Virginia, East Carolina shocked NC State, Memphis destroyed Kansas, and in the biggest shocker, Houston thumped Oklahoma.
Not all of those were special, but they were wins over Power Five programs – and that’s what the Group of Fivers have to do to be relevant.
Considering Memphis beat UCLA last year and Ole Miss a few years ago, Houston was able to get by Louisville at the end of 2016, and with a slew of other brand name wins, the conference proved it can handle itself in non-conference play.
The problem for UCF last season was that non-conference slate. It missed Georgia Tech because of the hurricane issues, and beating Maryland just wasn’t all that great at the season went on.
This year, there are just enough interesting matchups to make things interesting in the fight to make the league part of a #Power6.
Houston gets former head coach Kevin Sumlin and his Arizona team at home on September 8th, and Georgia Tech has to go to South Florida. Those are two must wins for the league, and getting a good showing out of SMU at home vs. TCU would be nice.
Houston has to get by Texas Tech on the road a week later, and UCF needs to prove that it’s back to form with a road win at North Carolina. USF is going on the road to Illinois on September 15th, too.
Throw in UCF hosing Pitt late in the month, and with Memphis going Missouri and Navy’s annual date with Notre Dame, and there are plenty of opportunities to make some national noise.